April 16–20 is designated as “Week of the Young Child”. This is a time to focus on your kids and family. Life is busy and days pass by so quickly. I know I often wonder if I am doing enough to help my kids grow and learn. I use to feel the anxiety and guilt when I saw other parents spending time working on projects and taking field trips with their kids, but I have found through recent studies and personal experiences that quality is more important than quantity.
Children need high-quality and truly “connected time” with their parents to feel supported and help develop those social and emotional skills that come with interactions and modeling. Remember it doesn’t have to be a lot of hours especially if you might only have a ½ hour before bedtime once you get all the other daily activities completed. Use the tips below to spend that ½ hour high-quality time with your children.
Connecting With Your Child
Here are tips for busy families from National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC):
- Have a daily “connect” time with your child. Do this face-to-face, if possible; but if this isn’t an option, create a routine for doing so in other ways, such as leaving a note in your child’s lunch bag, posting a note by his toothbrush, or writing an encouraging saying on a shared whiteboard in the house.
- Create a special ritual for you and your child—something that can be done every day. For example, let your child choose and read one book with you at bedtime.
- Tell your child you love her every day. And tell her how important she is to you and how she makes you feel.
- Reinforce positive behavior. For example, if your child completes his chores without your asking, acknowledge it with words of appreciation—even if you don’t have the chance do so until the next day.
- Make and eat meals with your children whenever possible. If time is limited, look for simple meals that require very little preparation, or grab a healthy snack such as an apple and sit for a few minutes and chat with your child.
- Schedule time for doing an activity of your child’s choosing. Be sure to follow through and complete the activity without any distractions.
- Play with your child, even if it’s during bath time or outside before you drop her off at preschool. Every little bit of time makes a positive impact!
- Laugh and be silly with your child.
- Turn off technology when you spend time with your child. Try not to text, answer calls, scroll through social media, or watch television.
For more information on early childhood development and resources contact Audrey Rider.